• Guy Jeffries

The Predator


Director: Shane Black.

Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Sterling K. Brown, Jacob Tremblay.

So Fox approach Shane Black after his success with Iron Man 3 (a success purely because it was Marvel and was Iron Man as oppose to being a brilliant film) and suggested a reboot for Predator, thinking it was about time someone remake the classic, and who else but Shane Black.

Now Black has his own special history with the Predator, starring in the iconic 1987 original as Hawkins, only getting the part because Joel Silver, one of the film’s producers, likes to have a writer within punching distance when making a film. And back then Shane Black was that writer; writing 80’s action epics such as Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout. It’s undeniable that Black helped shape the action genre back in the 80’s with his screen/script writing talents, and he became the highest paid screenwriter at one stage; but what about now?

He actually withdrew from the industry for a period due to personal hatred of the commercial pressure, but returned in 2005 with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; not only as writer but as his directorial debut too. A great film and one I believe also helped resurrect Downey’s career. But then after another break he comes out with Iron Man 3, a sequel I honestly believe you can skip when trying to catch up with the MCU. Nice Guys wasn’t a bad movie, entertaining at best but maybe I was expecting more from Black’s genius. And this brings us up to speed.

Black and Fred Dekker, his old friend from Monster Squad days reunite to write this as a return to their younger years, and I think that shows, but not in a good way. The story isn’t weak; it’s childish; and I think Black has made this purely for his own pleasure, maybe as revenge for his killing off as Hawkins or that they made him wear those geeky glasses. There’s been some heavy cutting and edits, some owning to the recent scandal that’s been brought to light by Olivia Munn, which is in no way her fault; poor responses from test audiences and Black convinced the first draft was way too dark. But all this has probably contributed greatly to the messy disjointed story.

They over elaborate on the Predator’s already awesome mythology, which as a result, almost alters their entire history and purpose. As some of the trailer suggests, (because other parts or older trailers tell a different story with missing scenes) there’s a little Predator Vs Predator conflict going on here and us little humans get caught up in the crossfire. But there is a lot more to it than that, a way lot more and I’m not going to ruin it but laying down a complete synopsis of film. But prior to this film being released, I was requested by fellow blog site, Spoiled by Trailers, to submit a prediction plot off the back of the latest trailer and my response was, and most likely, always will be a parody. There’s part of me that wishes there was a prize for who got nearest because damn, I wasn’t that far off.

But ultimately, there is some Predator on Predator action and Capt. Quinn McKenna and the loony bus get themselves involved. Black has taken little details from all previous three movies and tries to connect the tri dot lasers together, with some cheap shots at the previous films; copying lines in the hope of rekindling that Predator love, but it instead just seems nothing more than just cheesy, nostalgic winks. There’s even an open debate satirising the saga’s title, though this isn’t done Deadpool style through the 4th wall, this is actually part of the script. And thinking about it probably more than I should, grammatically speaking; it's backward, this being titled The Predator with two of them, with the original just called Predator with the singular.

I really like the new loony squad, even though it’s a poor attempt to mimic Dutch’s set up. But Boyd does good as decorated, hardened Ranger Captain, Quinn McKenna who first to encounter the Predator. The rest of the squad follow suit and provide maybe too much comedy, but like the original, they each bring their own psychotic level of craziness. They’re pretty much comic book characters which I believe was always the intention.

I liked Olivia Munn’s character of being a hardball alien biologist, I thought her performance was good, even though it wasn’t exactly fitting and there seems to be a lot unexplained, but that appears to be the case with much in this movie. And Sterling K. Brown is probably my favourite asshole in recent cinema. Playing the greedy secret agent who appears to be in charge of collecting Predator paraphernalia. He seems to be making his mark on the box office lately, previously being in Black Panther and Hotel Artemis. I’m looking forward to seeing what else he can do.

The new Predator’s are definitely badass and this movie does have good level of action, and this is what probably saves this movie from being an absolute travesty. It’s violent, bloody and gladly so; it needed to be being a Predator movie. The Predators themselves are well made and kudos to Black for keeping them as suited and masked up actors as oppose to CGI creations. The action is sharp and at times, a little too much for audiences to keep up with, and anything not Predator was sadly heavily CGI’d putting this on a tilt. Or, CGI was used for the wrong reasons, as there is a noticeable lack of the Predator’s infrared POV; though many screenshots suggest there was a lot of them, maybe cut from the final film or, purely just used for marketing purposes. Either way it’s a shame to not see one element that made Predator famous, that feeling of stalking down your prey.

The sound engineering was a major disappointment; it was as if they weren’t shy of being bloody and crude but they wanted to do it quietly, like being told to keep the noise down at a party. It should have been louder, I wanted to be blown away from whatever weaponry was being used. As for Henry Jackman’s score; I’m confused as to why they butchered Silvestri’s score, which was brilliant, but then add Jackman’s totally unnoticeable sound. If you’ve got the rights to rehash Silvestri’s score, then just stick with that.

You know those moments in a film where your disbelief and anger are instantly triggered by something? Well, it happens fairly early on, I think it was the Hobbit bit; and sadly those moments just kept on coming. Even the typefont used for the subtitles annoyed me. You remember what Michael Bay did with Transformers? This is like AvP: requiem but without the Alien element and instead has special guests from Ghostbusters and Star Wars. I was even reminded of a Klingon at one point. And just when you think it could get any worse. There’s the pre-credit scene that just... well. I honestly think Shane Black made this as a joke and I can picture him crackling to himself like Sonny Landham would, watching the audiences reactions.

I wished Arnie hadn’t declined to return as Dutch and have the team track him down in order to fight this new Predator; or even make it a revenge story with the offspring of the first Predator, maybe it’s daughter that’s come of age, arriving to seek revenge on the death of her father; after all, they’re honourable to a degree and surely Dutch is a formidable opponent. Too old maybe? Sorry Arnie. But would have made this a stronger and better premise than this going all humanitarian.

Action junkies should probably enjoy this, and some die hard Predator fans might warrant it a soft spot purely for just being a predator movie. But sadly, it’s underwhelming, corny, spineless and should have probably been left in the 80’s along with Shane Black’s attempt to grip to his youth.

Running Time: 7

The Cast: 7

Performance: 7

Direction: 6

Story: 3

Script: 4

Creativity: 5

Soundtrack: 3

Job Description: 2

The Extra Bonus Point: 0

44% 4/10

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